Stevia and Lyme Disease

Health Tips / Stevia and Lyme Disease

Patients often ask me if stevia can treat Lyme disease. The answer is both yes and no.

The question stems from a study published in 2015 in the European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology on stevia and the different forms of Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. The study showed that in a petri dish stevia extract was able to kill the bacterium as effectively as, if not better than, antibiotics.

Stevia comes from the leaves of the South American Stevia rebaudiana plant. The leaf can be up to 150 times sweeter than sugar while having no noticeable effect on blood sugar, and for this reason stevia has become a popular sugar substitute.

But can stevia effectively treat Lyme? To answer this we need to take a closer look at the study and how it was performed–in vitro (in a petri dish), not in vivo (in a live human body).

The study showed that stevia extract (not the powdered form you might be using to sweeten your tea) is effective against B. burgdorferi, persistent forms of B. burgdorferi, and also its biofilm forms. The extract’s rates of effectiveness were similar to or better than the antibiotics. But remember this all happened in a lab.

Here’s the catch: in order for stevia to work in the human body it must be absorbed in its full form through the intestine. Researchers have documented that this does not occur, and this is why the sweet plant doesn’t affect your blood sugar when you use it. Thus, what happens in a petri dish is not what happens in your body.

Except perhaps in one case. It’s possible that any B. burgdorferi biofilms (a group of microorganisms that stick together and form slimy films that adhere to surfaces like the gut lining or a blood vessel lining) in the gut might be effectively treated by liquid stevia extract.

However, until in vivo studies are done, don’t rely on stevia to treat your Lyme disease.  You may, however, continue to sweeten your tea with it.

In health,

Casey Kelley, MD

13 thoughts on “Stevia and Lyme Disease

    If Stevia only works in gut, and similarly to antibiotics, does Stevia kill good bacteria in the gut also?

    JKStretch
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 6:17 am

    Good questions JKStretch. It’s certainly possible. There needs to be more studies looking in to this, but there are some studies out that suggest stevia and other non-calorie sweeteners do effect the gut microbiome. Some worse than others. And we know that sugar itself effects the microbiome as well (sugar feeds the bad bugs). If you have a diet low in sugar, high in fiber and pre-biotic foods that feed the good bacteria in your gut, and you take a good quality probiotic, the effects of a small amount of stevia is likely not going to be highly detrimental to the good flora.

    Best to avoid all forms of sugar additives if you can. Stick with fruit – especially berries – to satisfy your sweet tooth.

    Dr. Kelley
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    What if liquid Stevia is taken sublingually ?

    Marie Fried
    Posted May 8, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Marie,

    I can find no studies that have tested the absorption of stevia sublingually. Until we know more about what parts of the stevia plant kill the bacteria and what parts are absorbed (and how they absorbed) we won’t know how to effectively use this plant as an anti-microbial. It shows promise in the lab which is great – now we just need to keep studying it!

    Dr. Kelley
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    So, it doesn’t get to the cellular level, like it did in a petri dish where the parasites are located?

    David Ruppel
    Posted May 24, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Thanks for a great article.

    nancybdownes@gmail.com
    Posted June 4, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    how about stevia extract for oral spirochete infection? any studies there??

    Anne Blanchette
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:44 am

    Hi Anne
    Interesting idea but unfortunately I am unaware of any studies. However stevia is quite harmless and if you have an issue with oral spirochetes, get a “deep cleaning” of your gums first and then give stevia a try

    Dr E
    Posted December 13, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    Fortunately, this advice is simply uninformed guesswork; a typical well meaning doctor that has no training in this arena and is waiting for the pharmaceutical company studies to tell him what to do (sad, but true). I personally used Stevia to treat my case of advanced Lyme. It took 1 1/2 years of Stevia with Wormwood and Detoxosode (Metals, Organs & Systems, and Rickettsia. Life was hell and I literally thought I was going to die. Be your own judge: Take Sweetleaf (Whole Leaf Concentrate) for 2 weeks and you will know for yourself if it works of not. Be very careful: take only two drops in the morning and two drops in the evenings. The killoff will begin and the toxins will need to be processed by the body. Taking more than this dose will eventually cause a bottle neck in the detox process and the pain and suffering from the herx will become massive. SPECIAL NOTE – as your body begins to process the toxins, your secondary problems will become more intense. This is ONLY ONLY ONLY because the body is expending so much energy processing the toxins, it has less energy to manage other systems. DO NOT LOSE YOUR FOCUS — the secondary problems will make your imagination go wild thinking other things are seriously wrong with you — and, the typical PCP (99.5) have not clue how to treat Lyme much less the secondary problems. When the pain becomes unbearable (and it will), just reduce the Stevia dose until you find your balance. Remember, the is not a sprint, it is a long distance race. You cannot rush the toxins out of the body… it takes 6 months to 1 1/2 years to rid the Lyme. PS: antibiotics will not eradicate the Lyme, stevia will!!

    Paul Hodge
    Posted August 23, 2018 at 11:38 am

      I agree with you completely Paul Hodges – Nutramedix stevia DOES work!

      Diane
      Posted July 26, 2019 at 1:32 am

      Is there a place where you are sharing your full protocol, Paul Hodge?

      tanya
      Posted October 13, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    I just started taking it, so am on the fence about it – but I can say I am seeing some changes – good and bad, (and I have tried a lot of herbals, so I know to not expect anything to happen right away. I also have diabetes – and it seems to make it go up and down more than usual – hoping that’s temporary.

    Pat Wiles
    Posted October 2, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    Using the same stevia used in the original study by Nutramedix in an extract what is the best protocol to use for Lymes. How many drops and how often. How soon after taking the stevia should you take the Japanese knotweed to kill the Borellia. Can you do Dr Hulda Clarksville parasite detox at the same time…? Can you take the stevia along with the knotweed and Ghanian quinine at the same time.?

    Joanne Hetzel
    Posted May 31, 2021 at 9:19 am

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